Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper-Review, Interview and Giveaway with the Author

Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper-Review, Interview and Giveaway  with the Author


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Better Homes and Hauntings / / Barnes and Noble / KOBO / The Book Depository

RELEASE DATE: June 24, 2014

When Nina Linden is hired to landscape a private island off the New England coast, she sees it as her chance to rebuild her failing business after being cheated by her unscrupulous ex. She never expects that her new client, software mogul Deacon Whitney, would see more in her than just a talented gardener. Deacon has paid top dollar to the crews he’s hired to renovate the desolate Whitney estate—he had to, because the bumps, thumps, and unexplained sightings of ghostly figures in nineteenth-century dress are driving workers away faster than he can say “Boo.”

But Nina shows no signs of being scared away, even as she experiences some unnerving apparitions herself. And as the two of them work closely together to restore the mansion’s faded glory, Deacon realizes that he’s found someone who doesn’t seem to like his fortune more than himself—while Nina may have finally found the one man she can trust with her bruised and battered heart.

But something on the island doesn’t believe in true love…and if Nina and Deacon can’t figure out how to put these angry spirits to rest, their own love doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance.


REVIEW: BETTER HOMES AND HAUNTINGS is a stand alone, paranormal romance storyline from the amazing mind of Molly Harper. A ghost story with humor, sarcasm, friendship, love and a HEA, our intrepid crew have been hired to update and renovate the nineteenth century Whitney family owned mansion-known as Crane’s Nest- on a private island near the New England Coast.

Better Homes and Hauntings follows landscaper Nina Linden, billionaire Deacon Whitney, organizer Cindy Ellis, architect Jake Rumson and Deacon’s cousin Dotty Whitney as they forage through old diaries looking for clues to the death of Catherine Whitney-the original wife of Gerald Whitney –presumably murdered by the man that she loved. The stories surrounding the ghostly spirits that haunt the old mansion come to life as each of our characters will fall victim to memories of the past.

The storyline focuses on the building relationship between Deacon and Nina-a relationship that is plagued by nightmares, ghostly apparitions and someone else’s memories. We follow organizer and cleaner Cindy as she toys with the affections of Deacon’s best friend and architect Jake-a man who doesn’t recall the first time he met the vivacious Cindy Ellis; and the eccentric Dotty Whitney-a woman who is determined to write a biography of Gerald and Catherine Whitney-the original inhabitants and owners of Crane’s Nest whose reputation and deaths have followed the Whitney family legacy to the present day.

Molly Harper pulls the reader into a storyline of ghostly hauntings, angry spirits, mystery, possession and missing family heirlooms. As the ensemble cast of friends begins to uncover the secrets of the past, the spirits will step up their game until one of them finally breaks-possession is a nasty way to seek revenge and the truth.

BETTER HOMES AND HAUNTINGS is an entertaining storyline of mystery, suspense and romance where the ghosts of the past refuse to move on. It is a story of one family’s tainted past; a past that has haunted the descendants throughout the years and a past that is seeking revenge for a murder that was never solved.

Molly Harper’s remarkable storylines blend humor, love, friendship and family in a lively, spirited and clever presentation that everyone will enjoy.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley.

Reviewed by Sandy



CATCHING UP with Molly Harper at The Reading Café

Follow Molly at : Goodreads/Website/Facebook/Twitter

TRC: Hi Molly and welcome back to The Reading Café. Congratulations on all of your success since last we talked.

Molly HarperMH: Thank you for having me!

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

MH: I had a number of really fantastic English teachers when I was in high school. I was a weird, smart aleck kid with no apparent talent. I was a decent student, but I couldn’t sing, couldn’t draw, and despite being a six-foot-tall freshman, couldn’t play a sport to save my life. So the usual avenues that kids have to get praise and attention in school were unavailable to me. (In the case of sports, really, REALLY unavailable.)

But my freshman English teacher, Mr. Werner asked us to write an introductory essay so he knew something about us as the year started. I called mine, “Fence Posts and Tree Stumps” and wrote about the dinner table debates I had with my Dad about politics, news, science, etc. Mom told us that Harpers should argue with fence posts and tree stumps, because only inanimate objects could survive the circuitous, endless discussion. Mr. Werner loved it and had me read it aloud to the class. That was something I had never done before, sharing my writing with non-relatives. Like many girls my age, I had my Secret Notebook of Horrible Unicorn Poetry, but it was hidden beneath many Christopher Pike paperbacks under my bed.

Mr. Werner told me I was funny, and had a unique voice, like Erma Bombeck. And once I looked Erma Bombeck up in the library and realized he’d paid me a compliment, I started thinking about writing as a possible career. I’d always written stories, but it never occurred to me that I could make a living with it. There weren’t many published authors in Paducah, Ky.

But, knowing the odds of becoming of a full-time novelist weren’t awesome, I read more of Bombeck’s essays and looked into degree programs that would help pursue a career as a newspaper reporter. I wanted to write columns like Bombeck and Dave Barry and Lewis Grizzard, people who didn’t necessarily teach their readers life lessons, but made them laugh and brightened their day.

Throughout high school, that little spark of writer’s hope was encouraged by Mr. Werner, Mr. Toy, Mrs. Rafferty and Mrs. Campbell – wonderful English teachers who put up with a considerable amount of snark to help me find my writing voice and polish some pretty rough grammatical skills. I still live in the small town where I grew up. Every once in a while I see them, and I’m sure to thank them and tell them what a profound influence they’ve had on my life.

TRC: When not writing, what do you do to relax?

MH: I started studying martial arts about a year ago. I started with Brazillian jiu jitsu and recently earned my yellow belt in karate. (So I now have the fighting skills of your average seven year old.) It’s a cool bonding activity for my family as my husband has studied karate for most of his life. He’s black belt and teaches at the school where I am a student, along with our daughter, Darcy, 9.

Darcy is about four belt rankings above me and LOVES that she is better at something than her mom. When we spar in class, she shows me no mercy. It’s a humbling experience to be punched in the face by your pre-teen under sanctioned circumstances.

I am bruised. So very bruised. But we have a lot of fun and it’s a chance to spend time together. How many families can say, “We spent a couple of hours learning nunchuk techniques on Tuesday.”

And I like the idea that if confronted, I have at least a twenty percent chance of survival. Before starting classes, there was an excellent chance I would trip over my own feet and knock myself unconscious while running away.

TRC: Are any of your characters similar in nature or personality to you or anyone you know?

MH: I was pretty shameless about injecting my own personality into Jane Jameson. We have the same fondness for Jane Austen, the same social clumsiness, the same tendency to spout random trivia when nervous. But unlike me, Jane tends to make rash and emotional decisions when in crisis. I’m more of a hyper-rational over-thinker when panicking.

I don’t know anyone like the vampire Dick Cheney. Which makes me sad.

Better Homes and HauntingsTRC: June 24, 2014 marks the release date of your latest novel BETTER HOMES AND HAUNTINGS. Would you please tell us something about the premise?

MH: This is my first standalone paranormal romance and my first haunted house story, so I am doubly excited. I ventured past my Southern comfort zone and set the story on a remote island off the coast of New England. The Crane’s Nest is a Gilded Era mansion that never quite thrived as a family home as Gerald Whitney, the business tycoon who built it was accused of murdering his wife shortly after it was completed. The murder mystery and inevitable stories of hauntings and family curses followed the Whitneys throughout the generations. Deacon Whitney, a social media mogul who has managed to rebuild his fortune, wants to restore the house to its former glory and finally put the supernatural rumors about his family to an end. The team of experts he assembles to remodel the house is contracted to live there over the summer while the work is completed, a measure he had to take after mysterious noises and cold spots chased away previous teams.

Landscaper Nina Linden is hired to rehabilitate the gardens and she sees it as her chance to rebuild her failing business after being cheated by her unscrupulous ex-partner. She never expects that her new client would see more in her than just a green thumb. But Nina shows no signs of being scared away, even as she experiences some unnerving apparitions herself. And as the two of them work closely together to restore the mansion’s faded glory, Deacon realizes that he’s found someone who doesn’t seem to like his fortune more than himself—while Nina may have finally found the one man she can trust with her bruised and battered heart.

But something on the island doesn’t believe in true love…and if Nina and Deacon can’t figure out how to put these angry spirits to rest, their own love doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance.

TRC: HOW TO RUN WITH A NAKED WEREWOLF was your December 2013 release in the Naked Werewolf series. How many books do you have planned for the series?

Naked Werewolf Series

MH: As of right now, there will be three books in the series. HOW TO RUN is the third. But you never know what could happen.

TRC: Have you considered a spin off for the Naked Wolf series similar to Nice Girls and the Jane Jameson series?

MH: Sure, if the idea ever came up, I could see that happening.

TRC: What are your thoughts on writing a series and ending an installment with a major cliff hanger?

MH: Sometimes, it’s necessary, particularly if you’re writing a thriller series. I’ve never done it because I’m not really a “cliff hanger” writer. But as long as the author has plans to continue the series and no major health problems, I don’t see how it’s a bad thing.

TRC: When writing a storyline, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?

MH: It’s a mix of both. I start with a basic outline of what I want in the plot and then write the first and last chapters. Anything that happens in the middle is directed by character and my sick, twisted sense of humor.

TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writer’s fail in this endeavor?

MH: I think the reader needs to see a little kernel of themselves in the character, something sympathetic so they can root for the character or at least feel compelled to find out what happens to him or her. That doesn’t necessarily have to mean the character is likeable. You can hate a character and still want to know how they end up. (The J.R. Ewing Principle.)

I think some writers make the mistake of trying to explain the character’s emotions in detail instead of just letting them happen. It’s a classic “show, don’t tell” issue that I struggle with sometimes, too.

TRC: What three things would you like to accomplish in the next five years?


I would like to finish the young adult manuscript I have been torturing for the last six months.

I would like to break onto a bestsellers list.

I would like to speak in public without getting really nervous.

TRC: What is something that few, if any people, know about you?

MH: I am addicted to sushi, as in, having it for lunch at least twice a week. I started a pretty serious diet a few years ago and it meant a complete nutritional overhaul. I had to replace the stuff I was eating with food that wouldn’t kill me someday. And sushi became my indulgence. I could eat green dragon rolls every day.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

MH: I will be writing several more spin offs to the Half Moon Hollow series. I could tell you what they’re about, but then I would have to send Ophelia after you.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

MH: If you enjoy audiobooks, BETTER HOMES AND HAUNTINGS will be released by Audible on the same day that it is released in print and ebook.

Also, my Half-Moon Hollow Christmas short story, I’M DREAMING OF AN UNDEAD CHRISTMAS, will be available in ebook on November 3, 2014.

And third book in the Bluegrass contemporary series, SNOW FALLING ON BLUEGRASS, will be released on September 22.

TRC: Thank you Molly for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of BETTER HOMES AND HAUNTINGS. We wish you all the best.


Molly and her publisher are offering a signed paper copy of BETTER HOMES AND HAUNTINGS and a $10 Starbucks Gift Card to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe

Better Homes and Starbucks

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

2. If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.

3. LIKE us on FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

4. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

5. Like Molly Harper on Facebook

6. Giveaway is open to USA only

7. Giveaway runs from June 23 to June 27, 2014


44 thoughts on “Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper-Review, Interview and Giveaway with the Author

  1. Great review, Sandy. Your review expresses how much you enjoy reading Molly’s books.

    Welcome back to TRC, Molly. It is always a pleasure to see you. Thank you for the great Giveaway.

  2. Great review Sandy, sounds like a fun romantic storyline

    Congrats Molly on the new release. Sounds like a busy upcoming six months. Always a pleasure to meet the author.

    Please enter me into the giveaway.

  3. Thanks for the great review and interview.

    Congratulations Molly. I am a big of the the Jane Jameson series and the Naked Werewolf series.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

  4. Sounds like a fun read, and the title was guaranteed to make me pick it up or click on the cover to learn more.(which is why I visited today when I got the email).

    FB liker for both Reading Cafe and Molly
    twitter follower acm05.

  5. I love Molly Harper in general and I can’t wait to see her latest… She is snarky, sexy and altogether too entertaining for words.
    Her marvelous sense of the ridiculous sends me into spasms whenever I read her…she is the cause of my being asked to leave several bookstores because I have been cackling in the aisles and frightening the less robust readers.
    Thank you Sandy for your terrific review…
    Now if I can only win a contest and catch my own werewolf, my day would be complete…

  6. Enjoyed the review & the interview was fun. Sounds like a humorous read. Will be adding it to my reading list. No we will not discuss how long that list is. BTW, loved how a teacher influenced you in your ability to write. Please enter me in the giveaway.

  7. Great interview. I’m really looking forward to reading Better Homes and Hauntings, it sounds like a great story. 😀
    Like on Facebook

  8. I’m always sure to pre-order Molly Harper’s latest at my local indie bookstore, and she never disappoints–one of my fav’s! So if I win I’ll be keeping that copy and passing my own along to my sister…

  9. I am a huge fan of Molly’s books. She is such an amazing author. Her stories are funny, witty and sexy with a lot of snark. Always excited for her new releases and after your great review I am even more eager to read this one.

    Facebook Liked and Notify- Stephanie Fredrick
    Facebook Like Molly- Stephanie Fredrick
    Twitter Follow- @FredrickLynn


  10. I ahve never read one of Molly’s, but this one seems like a fun read! Liked both Facebbok pages (aknallscovarrubias), folled with Twitter (romancewithbook). I also signed into your blog with Google + romancewithabook (at) gmail(dot) com, Thank You!

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